On Tuesday, July 10th, I had the opportunity to go to one of my favorite places…The Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota, Florida. The work being done there by the personnel under the leadership of Mack Reid is nothing shy of remarkable. You cannot find a more dedicated and committed group of people as they work tirelessly to help the young people right here in my local community. My wife and I have been longtime supporters of the Boys & Girls Clubs across America, and locally, Lorraine and I have awarded 5 scholarships to deserving youngsters for the past ten years. This year marked the 10th anniversary of our scholarships so it was particularly meaningful for me and my family. This year’s recipients were five remarkable individuals who are incredible young people who are working hard to build a bright future for themselves, their families and their community. The winners of the scholarships were:
1) Kristen Desmarais
2) Ashley Briggs
3) Elizabeth Pires
4) Jelica Thomassen
5) Gavin Cherry
I am so honored to help make a difference in the future of these talented kids. Their hard work and determination is exactly why I love to work with young people and they are proving to be incredible role models for the younger students at the Boys & Girls Clubs. My wife and I wish them nothing but continued success in pursuit of their goals and dreams.
While I visited the club to award my scholarships, I had the opportunity to speak to several hundred of the campers, ages 6-18 and we talked about the importance of making intelligent decisions in their lives. I always truly enjoy this opportunity to connect with the youngsters in my area.
Lastly, another reason for my visit was a special and touching tribute. It was the permanent placement of a life-size clown, “Dipsy Doo Dunkeraroo” which will be showcased outside of the Dick Vitale Gymnasium at the Club. I am most humbled and honored by this recognition and hope the clown puts a smile on the faces of many children who will see it through the years. The clown was initially sponsored by my wife and I to support a fundraiser for our local Tidewell Hospice and Palliative Care, another tremendous organization.
The clown was then auctioned off and permanently placed at the location of the bidder’s choosing. The highest bidder of “Dipsy Doo” was a long time past board member of the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club, Wells Purmont of Purmort of Purmort and Martin Insurance, and was kind and generous enough to want “Dipsy Doo’ placed outside of the gym bearing my name at the club. It truly was a memorable day.